Word And Deed

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I had a very strange epiphany the other day. After a friend of mine sneezed and I said, “Bless you,” it occurred to me that what I had offered, purely out of habit, was a religious sentiment (albeit an abbreviation) to an Atheist who, nonetheless, said quite naturally, “thank you.”

Though neither one of us was particularly startled by this seemingly normal exchange, I thought about it for a second and asked if I had offended him. He, not surprisingly, answered, “no.”

But then I thought about another conversation I had had with a stranger on the telephone. It was just a solicitation and meant nothing at the time until I recalled that she ended the call by saying, “blessings.” I thought it odd and, honestly, uncalled for but then wondered if she expected some type of response from me. Was I supposed to say, “and to you, too” (or whatever the standard Christian response is)?

I certainly meant no disrespect but, rather, was quite taken by surprise because, in my life, that’s just not something people say to one another. It also goes back to that much disputed custom of wishing anybody and everybody a merry Xmas during the month of December. I’ve never understood why people find it necessary to make the assumption that you’re Christian or that you need THEIR acknowledgment. I know it’s meant to be a friendly greeting but, then, so is the much safer and non-religious “hello.”

Whatever the intended message or meaning is behind the words, it would be so much easier if people just acknowledged one another with a brief nod or a pleasant smile!

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At The Mall

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I love going to the mall (except around this time of the year).* There, I’ve said it. The very best time to go is first thing in the morning. There are no teenagers skulking about, no loud music coming from the stores** and no lines. The most you will see are the velour-clad mall walkers and the new moms pushing baby carriages.

But all that changed when I decided to take my Dad along with me. First, we needed to find the bathroom (which we needed to do several more times during our venture). Then we needed to avoid every single crying or whining child. Finally, of all the many and varied types of delicious, multi-cultured food found in the food court, we needed to get… a Nathan’s hot dog. I kid you not.

So, next time I think about going to the mall I will slip out, unnoticed, and bring back some small token as a ‘thank you’ for allowing me to have my day at the mall!

*I try to get all my holiday shopping done before the end of October. No sales? Oh well. It’s worth it to avoid the holiday frenzy.

**I’ll take any other loud music over Xmas music, any day – you know, that stuff that plays on endless loops for months before the actual ‘day’ that it’s supposed to represent. And that’s why you’ll never see me in a store (even the grocery store), from now until the middle of January, without my handy-dandy, sanity-preserving earbuds.